Interview with 311: Shape Up

311311 has been a band for an awfully long time. The group’s debut came out all the way back in 1993, and between albums and live records the group has released 10 full-length discs over the years and been on so many tours you’d imagine them to be pretty sick of themselves. But 311, unlike most bands their age, only become more excited about music every day, practicing their craft and getting more and more involved in their songwriting and live shows. Singer and guitarist (and producer) Nick Hexum discusses the band’s forthcoming new album, how he prepares for tour, and, of course, Snoop.

How do you prepare to go on tour with Snoop Dogg?

I can’t think of much difference of how we would prepare for that than a regular tour. We’ll be doing our regular thing–rehearsing–I’ll be exercising to make sure I’m in shape and ready to rock out.

Have you met Snoop before?

I’ve never met him. Everybody says he’s real cool and surprisingly nice guy.

What does getting in shape for tour entail?

I like to run, usually with my dogs, get out and see the land. It’s a spiritual exercise. Other various exercise things, but yoga for me is very important–be flexible and centered, physically and mentally.

Are you able to maintain that on tour?

Yeah I do. I have more energy than I know what do to with. If I don’t exercise a lot my brain becomes overactive. I have to channel my energy into various things. I also find guitar practicing very calming. I practice guitar a lot. I’ve been playing guitar for 25 years, but it’s come to a whole new level in the past few years because I’ve started to work with a teacher and really expanded my knowledge of jazz and different scales and finger exercises. I’m finally turning into the player I always wanted to be. I always thought my hands would not execute what my mind wanted them to do so now I’m bringing that up to speed.

Do you think people expect for someone with so much musical experience to still be taking lessons?

It is an unusual thing, but there’s a lot of that in 311. I think the others have and are working with teachers too. We’re that committed to ask for outside help. There’s no finish line in music. There’s always further and further to go. People that reach a certain amount of success lose that hunger sometimes and feel like their ego tells them that they’re there. But they’re not there; there’s always further to go. And when you acknowledge that quest and find new things to get into it’s always interesting.